Helping a friend escape her traumatic past Hannah* came to our service for the first time in early July 2021. She was in a very vulnerable position having recently fled a violent situation from her ex-partner. In this blog, case worker Eleisha shares Hannah’s story… Understanding the background Hannah was initially staying in one of Manchester City Council’s safe accommodation for women. However, she had to leave due to her behaviour. When Hannah opened up to us a little later on about her vulnerabilities and past experiences, it was easy to see why she had such a tough time controlling her emotions and actions. She needs close, understanding support that she simply wasn’t getting from the hostel. The first time Hannah visited Barnabus she was incredibly worried about staying out on the street any longer. She had started receiving threatening text messages from her violent ex-partner and had also been recently diagnosed with ADHD and PTSD. That, and the fact that she was a woman fleeing violence who was now rough sleeping, made her extremely vulnerable and emotionally unstable. As Hannah had been evicted from council accommodation, the council could no longer accommodate her. Yet there were no other beds available that day, or even for the next few days, in other shelters around the city. Something needed to be done – and fast. Challenging the decision We decided it would be best to work with Greater Manchester Law Centre (GMLaw) to challenge the council’s decision based on the grounds that Hannah was extremely vulnerable. A member of staff from GMLaw contacted both myself and Hannah about her situation and decided that the grounds were reasonable enough to pursue the case further. In doing so, they were able to request that the council find Hannah new accommodation. Because of the limited bed spaces available, Hannah was allocated to a hotel guest house. Of course, this didn’t offer the ongoing support that she needed, but it gave us an opportunity to provide it ourselves. We were able to reassure Hannah that we’d continue to work with her regarding her support needs, so that she could adjust well to the change in circumstance and better control her behaviour in order to succeed in this accommodation. Securing extra support Because Hannah was so vulnerable, we felt it was in her best interests to refer her to the adult safeguarding team at Manchester City Council. Hannah agreed, and we all hoped that it might mean she gets extra support from a social worker. It didn’t take long for the adult social worker team to get in contact with myself and agree to assess Hannah and allocate her to a social worker. We also reported the incident of threatening text messages from her ex-partner to the police. At the time of writing, Hannah is currently still at the guest house, and we will continue to reach out to work with her and support her in whatever areas she needs. She will be even more supported now thanks to Manchester City Council’s adult social worker team, but we’ll be there for her until she is safe and living a fully independent life. The power of teamwork Hannah was sadly very vulnerable when she came to us. She was fleeing violence and suffering with poor and unstable mental health – all while sleeping on the streets. It’s not a situation that anyone should find themselves in. We are so proud that our support team was able to work well with Hannah, and that other services in the city all came together to provide her with the safety and support that she so clearly needs. We hope she continues on her road to recovery and a new life, and we’ll do everything in our power to make that happen. *Name has been changed to protect our friend’s identity If you found this story and finding out about the work Barnabus does every day we would love to tell you more and keep you up to date with what we are doing. To stay in touch please sign up to our monthly update emails using the form below.